Wednesday's practice was a significant one for the Syracuse Orange. It was the first practice in full pads and the first one with hitting and full contact.
"It went very well," redshirt freshman defensive end Jake Pickard said via Syracuse Athletics YouTube page. "We were hitting. We were thud all practice. The last three, four minutes of practice we got to go full tackle. It was good getting to fully hit people getting ready for cuts, getting ready for tackles.
"Just really playing football now. We're out of gym class as we like to say."
Junior linebacker Zaire Franklin was excited about getting back to real football.
"It's the best day of camp," Franklin said. "Looking forward to finally getting the chance to really go. Coach Babers said it's the first real football practice. So it's good to get out there today."
While Wednesday marked the first day back in full pads since the spring, it's not something the players have not thought about. In fact, Pickard says they've been waiting for this day for months.
"Last 12 weeks we've been looking forward to it," Pickard said. "We've been working. We've been grinding in the weight room. On the field with coach E, coach Sobel. We've just been getting this work and now we've got the full pads on. Now it's game time."
Wednesday's practice saw some back and forth action between the offense and the defense. Both units had their moments during the day, with the defense recording multiple turnovers, a few sacks and a pair of safeties. The offense answered with several big plays and a few touchdowns as well.
"We're still trying to get after it," Franklin said. "It's been extremely competitive between everybody. Tackling is also a little bit of an element now. You get to grab the guys and guys are cutting, so it's just a different part of the game. It's fun right now."